The Story So Far…
Our story starts in the capital of the Callegan frontier, a town known as Adler’s Cove, which sits in the shadow of the solitary foreboding volcano known as the Fangberg. Formerly an independent kingdom, Calleg was annexed into the mighty Tiberian Empire just a century ago, following its appeal for military assistance in the great Goblin War. The Tiberians brought their legions, their governance, their rigid hierarchy of social order, and their militaristic devotion to the Gospel of Panull. While the Imperial influence wields its strongest hold over the established lands of Calleg, tales of the times before the Empire can still be heard in the frontier lands that lay beyond the great city of Almas.
Various events have led an unlikely collection of individuals to the city of Adler’s Cove. A pair of Dwarves driven to the town by an encounter of random chance, rumors of an old Dwarven civilization tucked away in the forbidding Stonewall mountains and rumors of, Elnan, an old hermit on the outskirts of town, friendly to the Dwarves and to seekers of ancient lost knowledge. A strange halfling, wandering into town out of the wilds, conflicted and seeking his own truth, his background a swirling amalgamation of misdirection and half truths. And a pair of human outcasts, members of the Verdun Rhur, filled with an insatiable appetite for forbidden knowledge of the dark history of what lies beneath the Fangberg.
Our tale of our heros begins with the arrival of the Verdun Rhur into Adler’s Cove and with the forbidden song sung by Fruhorn. His spectacle recalled the old tales, ancient knowledge, and forbidden secrets to the minds of the townsfolk, and left himself and his lady-friend, Avhienda, without home after his father, leader of the Verdun Rhur family-class, cast him out. However, the thoughts and ideas stirred up by Fruhorn’s song were quickly forgotten with an outbreak of a violent, deadly, and fatal disease. The affliction even reached the Dwarve’s benefactor, Elnan.
Driven by the need of a cure, your group gathered together at the local herbologist shop run by Laurel. She pointed you in the direction of the ingredients for a cure, and off into the wilderness you went. Along the way you happened to meet Milon Rhodam, a woodsmen who you later found to be dear friend to demihumans. Gathering the ingredients in the wilds, there was one last ingredient to gather, a type of mushroom referenced in the Gospel of Panull as being the favorite of the Yanndarans. What fortune, for on the slopes of the Fangberg stood the ruins of an abandoned Yanndaran outpost.
The outpost had been inhabited by foul Kobolds, but you slaughtered them and salvaged some remaining mushrooms. In the crypts of the outpost, you came upon Yanndaran corpses, animated in death under the taint of the Conculcabas and the not-quite-dead-yet spirit of the outpost’s final commander. From him, you learned of the Primagna, the group of Gods worshipped by the Yanndarans, and that Moradin, sacred father to Dwarf-folk, also was a Primagna of the Yanndarans. Finally, you also uncovered a journal of the commander, which Elnan was able to translate for you.
The journal contained a collection of letters from the Dwarven expedition on the Fangberg, how they had finally drilled through a thick wall of obsidian, which seemed to be the spark for a disturbing turn of events. First the Dwarven miners fell victim to flows of lava and collapsed tunnels, but then the deep miners began to lose their grip on sanity. As the Dwarves probed deeper, so increased the resistance of the mountain, until finally the taint of the Conculcabas assaulted the Dwarves. All mining efforts stopped, the Dwarves erected mighty subterranean fortifications. Fortifications that merely delayed the inevitable end, as a ceaseless horde of darkness fell upon the Dwarves, finally pouring forth from the mountain and taking the lives of those in the Yanndaran outpost.
Your quest complete, and the cure brewed by Laurel, your group fell under the curiosity of the Inquisition. Forcefully invited to the Krag, home of the Inquisiton, you were greeting by Malgrim, the stooped, yellow-eyed, creepy assistant. You were lavishly accommodated yet forcibly contained until you were finally questioned by Nebezzar himself, Grand Inquisitor in Adler’s Cove – fully adorned in his Inquisitor skull regalia, symbolizing faithful service beyond death. During the interrogation, a certain set of choices were made, which clearly demonstrated your reluctance to cooperate with the Inquisition. Finally released, you collected a bloody and chagrined Fruhorn, cut, stabbed, burned and beaten within inches of his life. Escorted back by the Imperial Guard Commander, a woman named Lucilla Virus, she gave you a new quest, one that would remove you from the immediate watch of the Inquisition.
She told you how Governor Kreed has struggled to stop bandit raids on the road from further frontier towns, and you took to the quest, to get out of town more than anything else. However, before you left town, Milon begged to speak with you. He told you how his patron believed your quest to be deceitful, and what the Empire truly wanted you to recover was an ancient relic captured by the bandits. He begged you to return the relic to him, so it could be destroyed by his patron, and urged you to, whatever the cost, ensure it would not make it to the hands of the Empire.
Heading out down the road, your travels eventually brought you to the site of the bandit attacks. The strongly fortified camp eventually fell victim to your brutal assault, although in all honesty you should have died… As the bandit leader fell, he shouted a foul incantation and threw the relic at your feet. Within the relic, colors whirled as the relic shook back and forth, some terrible energy building inside of it. Building inside of it, that is, until the thing was crushed by the mighty swing of a mordenkrad. Out of the wreckage sprang foul devil-kin, and you turned tail and fled the battlefield.
The trail of the devils lost to you, you turned your path back to Adler’s Cove. Along the way, in the middle of one night, the Verdun Rhur family-clan of Fruhorn and Aviendha was slaughtered. You came upon the burning remains of their camp and salvaged what you could. A lone survivor told you the tale of the clan’s end. His descriptions made it clear that the foreboding guards of the Inquisition were responsible. Tracking their footprints you see that the guards, having completed their work, fanned out from the encampment, where suddenly the clear tracks stopped as if the perpetrators had vanished into the thin air.
Arriving back in Adler’s Cove, you soon discovered that a group of children had gone missing. They had dared each other to spend the night at the old burned down orphanage to see if rumors that Korratu emissaries met there. You know the Korratu as an ancient enemy of the Empire, legends of their wild hoards in the vast lands of the East, burning and pillaging the lands as they roam. But children are not always the brightest, and this group was lured by the rumors of the Korratu, hopeful for any way of throwing off the yoke of Imperial governance.
You followed their trail to the orphanage and found tracks of Goblins leading up the slopes of the Fangberg. The Goblins took the children to the Dwarven mining expedition entrance. Along the way, you passed the Yanndaran outpost to see that it had been occupied by the Inquisition and their imposing guards. Perhaps the Inquisition would be so preoccupied with the outpost that you could return to Adler’s Cove and avoid their attention, but as we will see, that did not come to pass.
Arriving at the entrance to the Dwarven mines, you see that the place has been renamed Droskar’s Crucible. Inside you find an austere system of halls and rooms, created by toiling Dwarves as they aspired to satiate the demands of their dark forge god, Droskar. Ceaseless and unimaginitive labor characterises the efforts of Droskar’s faithful. You found the corpse of the Dwarven clan leader, crushed by a gruesome suicide machine of his own creation, his last writing an apology to Droskar, for having failed the dark lord’s demands.
Along the way, you overhear the unfortunate story of the Goblin residents of the location. The Deathstone Goblin Tribe and their King, Merlokrep had fallen upon hard times. When foul dark creatures rose out of the depths of the mountain, they slaughtered the tribe. Those few survivors fled into the upper reaches of the Dwarven outpost, where they hung onto a meager existence. Until the day that Merlokrep’s shaman, Zugzug, fell into a trance and prophesied that only a foul ritual, sanctified by human blood, could restore glory to Merlokrep’s rule. Thus the Goblins captured the children, and that’s why you were here.
Pursuing the Goblins down the glistening stairway carved into the walls of the magma chamber of the Fangberg, you came upon a section of Dwarven halls preserved from before the Conculcabas corruption. Here you found the holding cells for those deep miners who had fallen into insanity, until they killed themselves while scrawling that “The dreamer has learnt of us” on the walls of their rooms. Here also, you found the journal of Thrambad Amberforged, leader of the Dwarven expedition, and learnt of his slow decay into the world of shadow.
However, eventually you convinced some Goblin captives, who had launched a failed rebellion against Merlokrep, that you could dispose of the wretched King and that they should lead their people to safety. While they distracted the guards, you found Merlokrep in his throne room, and epically slaughtered him, his bride, his guards, Zugzug the Shaman, and a bastardly wicked jumping spider named DripFangs, and rescued the last child from certain sacrificial death.
Recovering in Merlokrep’s secret-secret escape tunnel to safety, you set out to return the children in early morning. As you made your way back across the glistening stairway, the mountain was rocked by a sudden grinding sound. A great and mighty wail as from eons of suffering let out a once, echoed from the depths and put fear into your hearts. Clearly not all is quiet in the Fangberg. However, you had children to return.
After returning the children to town, y’all hid out at Elnan’s cottage for several weeks, while Roark built himself a salmon ladder in the forest to train. Speaking with Elnan, you learned of mysterious going ons in the small hamlet of Bresnin (to be discussed later).
Eventually word came to your ears that Governor Kreed was seeking the group responsible for returning his son to give them his thanks. A long and twisted path of narrative led to an unfortunate encounter between Fruhorn and the Governor’s enforcer, Kabran Bloodeye. Unfortunate because Kabran is not the kind to be blustered about with bravado, and he challenged Fruhorn to a duel and would most likely have ended very poorly for dear Fruhorn (again), until Fruhorn was rescued by a small band of Dwarves and a halfling… Small, get it?? Haha! Completely decked out in their armor and striding the streets openly armed caused a ruckus among the townsfolk – not counting the guard at the gate who pissed himself. After gathering up Fruhorn, the band was in the streets, surrounded by slack jawed yockels, and heard the thumping of Imperial boots coming down the streets. Roark gave an impassioned speech to those present which did mollify the humans and allowed the group to make haste down the town roads to the gate, and this is where our story picks up….